Energy balances - early estimates

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Data extracted in June 2018.

Planned update: June 2019.

Highlights
Preliminary 2017 data indicates a decrease in the EU production of natural gas (-3.9 %) compared with 2016.
Preliminary 2017 data indicates an overall decrease in EU inland consumption of coal compared with 2016, with other bituminous coal decreasing by 8.1 %.
Index of gross inland energy consumption for renewable energy in the EU-28

This article provides for the first time preliminary data of 2017 annual energy 6 months after the end of the reference period. Up to now, official annual energy data was published by Eurostat 13 months after the end of reference period (2013 data were available at the end of January 2015, 2014 data were available at the end of January 2016, etc. ). This improved timeliness is the result of Eurostat's response to policy needs and has been elaborated in close cooperation with reporting countries.

The highlights for the EU-28 aggregate from the 2017 data collection exercise are presented in the sections below. All detailed national data are presented in the Excel files at the end of this article.


Full article

Electricity & heat

Gross electricity production in the EU-28 in 2017 increased very slightly (+0.5 %) compared with 2016. Preliminary data indicates significant annual variations between Member States ranging from +91.0 % in Malta to -11.7 % in Greece. The electricity generation in the EU in 2017 is affected by a decrease in hydro production (-13.2 % or -50 terawatt hours (TWh)) and increases in wind production (+19.5 % or +59 TWh) and production from natural gas (+7.2 % or + 44 TWh).These are driven by changes to the energy system (for example a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) power plant in Malta) as well as by weather patterns (water shortages for hydro plants in several southern EU countries).

Table 1: Gross electricity production in the EU-28

Gross derived heat production in the EU-28 in 2017 decreased by 0.4 % compared with 2016. Preliminary data indicates a decrease of heat production by -5.2 % or -34 petajoules (PJ) from coal (including manufactured gases and peat) and an increased production from natural gas (+2.4 % or +22 PJ) and municipal wastes (renewable +4.9 % or +6 PJ and non-renewable +4.4 % or +5 PJ). Production of electricity and heat from biofuels (solid, liquid and gaseous) shows a small overall increase (see Table 1 and 2). More details and country specific preliminary data are available in the Excel file for electricity and heat.

Table 2: Gross derived heat production in the EU-28

Natural gas

Preliminary 2017 data indicates a decrease in the domestic production of natural gas (-3.9 %) compared with 2016. In relation to the decreasing production, the imports of natural gas have increased by 11.0 % and exports by 11.7 % during 2017. Overall the gross inland consumption was 4.5 % higher in 2017 than in 2016, the highest since 2012. The most notable increases in gross inland consumption of natural gas were in Germany, Italy and Spain accounting for the majority of growth in the EU in absolute terms (74 % of total increase in the EU's natural gas consumption) (see Table 3 and the Excel file below on 2017 early estimates for natural gas).

Table 3: Natural gas supply in the EU-28

Oil

Preliminary 2017 data indicates that the demand of refineries for primary oil (such as crude oil) increased slightly by just above 2 % and so did the supply of refined petroleum products from refineries. Gas/diesel oil followed by motor gasoline were the most significant oil products, accounting for nearly 60 % of the output. Gross inland deliveries of all petroleum products to the EU market in 2017 increased by 2.9 % (+16 million tonnes (Mt)). The most notable increases in absolute terms were indicated for naphtha (+14.0 %), kerosene type jet fuel (+6.9 %) and gas/diesel oil (+2.1 %). Gross inland deliveries of motor gasoline in 2017 were at the same level as in 2016 (see Table 4). More details and country specific preliminary data are available in the Excel file for oil.

Table 4: Petroleum products supply in the EU-28: Refinery output

Solid fossil fuels (coal) and manufactured gases

Preliminary 2017 data indicates an overall decrease in inland consumption of coal, compared with the previous year. While inland consumption of lignite increased by nearly 7 Mt (+1.9 %), the inland consumption of other bituminous coal decreased by 15 Mt (-8.1 %). Oil shale and oil sand increased (+5.4 % or + 1 Mt) as well as sub-bituminous coal (+30.1 % or 0.8 Mt). Overall, the preliminary data indicates that the domestic production of primary coal increased by 0.9% (+4 Mt) in 2017, total imports decreased by 3.1% (-6 Mt) and total exports decreased by 27 % (-14 Mt). Taking into account also a decrease in the reported stock (stock draw only 1 Mt), the use of primary coal products decreased by nearly 8 Mt (-1.2 %) (see Excel table in annex for solid fossil fuels (coal) and manufactured gases, which also contains more details and country specific preliminary data ).

Table 5: Inland consumption of solid fossil fuels and manufactured gases in the EU-28

Renewables and waste

Preliminary 2017 data indicates that the use of renewable energies increased in 2017. As seen in table 1, electricity generated from renewable sources recorded increases (wind +19.5%, solar +8.3%, solid biofuels +0.9%, biogas +0.4%). However, some renewables also reported decreases for electricity production, most notable hydro power (-13.2 %).

Inland production as well as consumption of combustible renewables has also increased. Biofuels shows increases for liquid biofuels (biodiesel +10.8%, biogasoline +6.1%), biogases (+1.2%) and solid biofuels (+0.7%). While combustion of municipal waste (renewable and non-renewable) increased (+4.0% and +3.4% respectively) the use of industrial waste for energy purpose decreased by 1.2% (see Table 6). More details and country specific preliminary data are available in the Excel file for renewables and waste.

Table 6: Inland consumption of renewables and wastes in the EU-28

Methodology

Timeliness and accuracy of the input data Currently, the official energy annual data (the European statistics on energy) is published in a harmonised form of commodity/energy balance by Eurostat 13 months after the end of the reference period (2013 data were available at the end of January 2015, 2014 data were available at the end of January 2016, etc.). Consequently in the documents of the Energy Union Report from November 2015, the latest data available cover the reference year 2013, i.e. almost 2 years after the end of the reference period or "year-2". This is not optimal for a proper monitoring process and it is therefore essential to find ways to reduce this 'gap'. This could be achieved in several different ways:

  • by finding solutions for improving the timeliness and accuracy of the existing statistical annual data collections
  • by developing suitable new statistical data collections
  • by estimation/modelling techniques.

Timeliness, quality control and continuity of the monitoring process The process of aggregating input data in order to produce relevant indicators is complex. It requires the collection of data, their validation and aggregation into indicators, all of this in a timely and accurate manner. The compilation and analysis in this process is time-consuming and efforts are needed to further automatize the process in order to efficiently provide high quality results. There is a strong need to have a database for ensuring the continuity of the monitoring process over time. Therefore some developments are necessary in order to reduce the administrative burden of the process, to avoid potential human errors when processing data into indicators and to increase flexibility to cope with potential changes in the monitoring process or indicators.

Transparency of the monitoring process The monitoring process should be done in a transparent manner. In other words, the indicators should be publicly available in an understandable visual presentation (including graphs and data tables) together with the calculation/estimation methodology.

The development of solutions The European Commission (DG Energy and Eurostat) is developing short term and long term solutions. During 2016, DG Energy undertook an exploratory study to try to identify ways of having early estimates or earlier preliminary data on 2015 energy consumption. The future activities of DG Energy are planned to be complementary to Eurostat deliveries – whenever available, official statistics will be used as the primary source of information.

Eurostat response to policy needs In March 2016 Eurostat initiated intensive cooperation with reporting countries in the Energy Statistics Working Group (ESWG) and launched the Energy Statistics Task Force on Early Estimates of Energy Balances. The cooperation with countries resulted in dissemination of preliminary data[1] of the 2017 supply side of the energy balance in June 2018, thus 6 months after the end of the reference period. The published data are to be considered as preliminary that will be revised upon delivery of data as defined in Regulation (EC) No 1099/2008 on energy statistics. Further developments in the upcoming years are planned on delivering estimates of the key aggregates of the consumption side of energy balance. Eurostat together with reporting countries will develop a methodology to produce early estimates of energy balances and will further analyse their accuracy. When the high quality of the results is confirmed, Eurostat will proceed with the dissemination of early estimates of energy balances too.

The first data dissemination Intensive cooperation with reporting countries resulted in the data delivery of official estimates for the reference year 2017 in the form of mini-questionnaires. Eurostat disseminates these received data as estimates.

The methodology Data collections (including eventual estimation) is done at national level by respective National Statistical Institutes or Other National Authorities transmitting data to Eurostat. Eurostat does not publish any estimates for values not transmitted by individual reporting countries. However, for the purpose of presenting the EU-28 aggregate, some missing values need to be estimated for a very limited number of reporting countries. These Eurostat estimates are not present on data sheets with national data and were used only for the improvement of the accuracy of the EU-28 aggregate.

The results The MS Excel files below include all national results - data from the MS Excel questionnaires were extracted and grouped by country. These data should be considered as preliminary for the reference year 2017; these are not final data for policy evaluation or official monitoring of developments towards legally binding targets.

The limitations The exercise on developing early estimates of energy balances is currently under development by Eurostat and the Energy Statistics Task Force on the Early Estimates of Energy Balances. It is yet to be seen if the preliminary data provided by reporting countries can be used only to create an accurate estimate of the supply side of energy balance or also the estimate of consumption side of energy balance. Eurostat, in pursuing the approach of full transparency, publishes the collected data (the input into the project in the form of the so called "mini-questionnaires"). Thus the limitations as for any statistics under development should apply also for these data.


Context

The Energy Union

Energy Union

The need for energy balances earlier The European Commission launched in February 2015 a new strategy for a resilient Energy Union with a forward-looking climate change policy. The Energy Union strategy has mutually-reinforcing and closely interrelated dimensions designed to bring greater energy security, sustainability and competitiveness. The aim of the Energy Union is to provide a new integrated, cooperative and more effective framework for common EU energy and climate policies providing to the European consumers – households and businesses – secure, affordable, competitive and sustainable energy. The first State of the Energy Union report stated the following: "In order to track progress, a transparent monitoring system has to be put in place based on key indicators as well as on Member States' biannual reports concerning progress made on their national plans. The Commission intends to assess collective progress made at the EU level in its annual State of the Energy Union and, if necessary, propose policy actions and measures to ensure the delivery of the Energy Union objectives".

Notes

  1. While most countries provide preliminary data, some countries are able to provide final data and other countries can provide estimates.
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